Tuesday, April 7, 2009

There's an ironic pattern to discern here.

I just read an older article by Donald Dayton responding to the publication of Harold Lindsell's Battle for the Bible. In it Dayton writes:

"Ironically, Lindsell’s book may very well prove to be a potent force for undermining the very position he defends. The superficiality of the book, combined with its timing in the midst of already swirling controversy, may provide the occasion for a wholesale repudiation of its stance. The rush of theologians and church leaders to dissociate themselves from The Battle for the Bible may indicate that this rejection is already taking place." (D. Dayton, "The Battle for the Bible: Renewing the Inerrancy Debate," http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1823)

This brought to mind Kent Sparks' remarks in God's Words in Human Words:

"Of course, I did not believe Van Seters. He was not any sort of evangelical Christian, and I had been warned about the deceptive and beguiling ways of the biblical critics. Paradoxically, it was Kitchen himself---not Van Seters---who convinced me that the critics were right...

At that moment, I began to doubt that evangelical scholars were really giving me the whole story when it came to the Bible and critical scholarship...

Only now are we witnessing the emergence of a new generation of evangelical scholars who are willing to admit that the standard critical arguments are often much better than the ill-advised apologetic that evangelicals have aimed at them. " (p. 11-12)

It is a great irony that reading conservatives' articulations of their "orthodox" positions can do more toward driving people away from their positions than reading any school of critical scholarship.